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Sunday School Lesson: A Miraculous Catch of Fish
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Preschool Sunday School Lesson: A Miraculous Catch of Fish

Use this free Sunday school lesson with kids from Hands-On Bible Curriculum to help preschoolers learn that Jesus can do anything! Find more great Sunday school lessons to help kids grow in their faith.


On their own, the disciples couldn’t catch any fish. But with Jesus’ help, they were able to catch all the fish they needed. Just like Jesus helped his disciples, he can help you if you ask him to. Remember to ask Jesus for help when you feel alone, or afraid, or sad because Jesus can help children be strong.

Lesson Set Up

Bible Point

Jesus can do anything.

Bible Verse

“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Children will:

  • play fishing games,
  • hear about the disciples’ miraculous catch of fish,
  • pretend to go fishing with the disciples, and
  • fill a net with “fish” prayers as they name things they’re thankful for.

Bible Basis

A miraculous catch of fish. (John 21:1-13)

Peter was a fisherman. He knew the times and the places that fish could be caught. So it wasn’t a coincidence that he and the other disciples fished when and where they did. However, a long night of fishing had produced nothing. They likely were about to give up on catching anything when Jesus called out from shore and told them they’d find fish on the other side of the boat. They probably laughed at the suggestion! But for some reason—maybe something in them wondered if the lone figure on the shore could be Jesus—they obeyed what the man said. And the passage tells us what happened!

Suddenly Peter’s priorities changed; he knew it was Jesus who had spoken to them from the shore. Peter was more excited about seeing Jesus than about bringing in the huge catch of fish that they’d hoped for all night! As Peter swam to the shore, the other disciples dragged in the net full of fish.

The miraculous catch of fish revealed Jesus to Peter. As you go through this Scripture with your preschoolers, they can begin to learn who Jesus really is and how his divine power can help them day by day.

Prayer

  • Read Luke 24:13-32.
  • How is the experience in this passage similar to the one in our passage today?
  • When have you neglected to notice Jesus at work in your life?
  • Pray: Lord, thanks for working in my life. Help my preschoolers to see that you…

THE LESSON

1. Welcome Time

Set up one or more of the following stations for children to do as they arrive. After you greet each child, invite him or her to choose an activity.

Circulate among the children to offer help as needed and direct children’s conversation toward the point of today’s lesson. Ask questions such as “Have you ever been fishing? Tell me about it” or “How many fish do you think you could catch in one day?”

Station 1: Heart Fish

Supplies:

  • heart-shaped cutouts made from colored construction paper (You’ll need one 2-inch heart and one 4-inch heart for each child),
  • glue,
  • crayons.

Give each child a small heart and a large heart. Show children how to make fish by gluing the hearts together at the points. Point out that the larger heart is the fish’s head and body and the smaller heart is its tail. Set out crayons, and let children draw fins and scales on their fish. As they work, tell them that today’s Bible story is about a time when Jesus’ followers went fishing.

If children finish their fish early, have them make another fish to share. You’ll need one fish for each child in your class. You’ll use the fish later in the lesson.

Station 2: Let’s Go Fishing

Supplies:

  • fish crackers,
  • container,
  • paper cups

Empty a package of fish crackers into a shallow container. Let children “go fishing” by scooping with paper cups to see how many “fish” they can catch. Encourage them to count the fish in their cups each time. As children fish, tell them that today’s Bible story is about Jesus’ disciples going fishing. Explain that the disciples didn’t catch anything at first, but then Jesus told them how to fill their nets with fish. Remind children that Jesus can do anything.

Station 3: Net Full of Fish

Supplies:

  • blanket,
  • toys

Lay a blanket on the floor. Invite children to place classroom toys or blocks in the center of the blanket, and then pull the edges of the blanket together. Let children take turns dragging the blanket around the room. Encourage them to try it by themselves, with partners, and then all together. Explain that today’s Bible story is about a time Jesus’ disciples dragged a heavy net full of fish. Point out that Jesus helped the disciples catch the fish, and remind children that Jesus can do anything.

When everyone has arrived and you’re ready to move on to Bible Time, encourage the children to finish what they’re doing and get ready to clean up.

2. Bible Time

Supplies:

If you did the “Net Full of Fish” activity during Let’s Get Started, spread out the blanket to create a pretend beach for children to sit on during Bible Story Time.

Tell the children you’ll clap your hands three times to get their attention. Explain that when you clap your hands, the children are to stop what they’re doing and repeat the clap. Practice this signal a few times. Encourage children to respond quickly so you’ll have time for all the fun activities you’ve planned.

Ask:

  • What did you make or do when you came to our class today?

Say: Some of you made heart fish, some of you went fishing for fish crackers, and some of you dragged a pretend net around our room. You were all learning important things about our Bible story. Today’s Bible story is about a time some of Jesus’ disciples went fishing.

Ask: 

  • Have you ever been fishing? Tell us about it.
  • What did you use to fish with? 

Hold up the fishing net. Say: When Jesus’ disciples went fishing, they used a net. Their net was sort of like this one, but it was much, much bigger and stronger. They would throw their net out into the sea and wait for the fish to swim into it—just like this.

Gently throw the net out over one of the children. Say: Oh my! You’re the biggest fish I’ve ever seen. If I tried to catch all of you, my net would break for sure.

Fishing Net Game

Have the child pass the net back to you. Say: Let’s play a game with our net to help us get ready for our Bible story. A few of us will hold the net up high over our heads.

Choose three or four children to help you hold up the net, and then continue: The rest of you will be fish. You’ll swim under the net, one at a time, and we’ll try to drop the net down and catch you. When you get caught, you must swim over to our story area and pretend to flop down in the boat.

Let children take turns “swimming” under the net. You’ll probably be able to catch most of them on the first try. As children get caught, have them go sit in the story area. If your net holders want to get caught, invite a few children from the story area to help hold the net. When everyone’s been caught, return the paper net to the Learning Lab and join children in the story area.

Say: That was fun! When Jesus’ disciples went fishing, they did what Jesus said, and their net filled with fish. Jesus can do anything. Let’s bring out our Bible and hear how Jesus helped his friends catch fish.

3. Bible Song and Prayer Time

Supplies:

Say: Now it’s time to choose a Bible helper to bring me the Bible marked with today’s Bible story. As we sing our Bible song, we’ll pass around our special Bible. The person who’s holding the Bible when the music stops will be our Bible helper today. Remember that each week one of you will get to be the Bible helper.

“I’m So Glad for the Bible” Song

Lead children in singing “I’m So Glad for the Bible” to the tune of “Give Me Oil in My Lamp.” As you sing, pass around the special Bible.

Sing:

I’m so glad for the Bible.
Keep me learnin’, learnin’, learnin’.
I’m so glad for God’s book today.
I’m so glad for the Bible.
Keep me learnin’, learnin’, learnin’—
Keep me learnin’ all about his way.

Let me hear ’bout God’s love—
Keep me learnin’, learnin’, learnin’.
Let me hear ’bout God’s love for me.
Let me hear ’bout God’s love—
Keep me learnin’, learnin’, learnin’.
Let’s shine the light for all to see.

(Repeat first verse.)

When the music stops, invite the child who’s holding the Bible to bring it to you. Stamp the child’s hand with the happy-face stamp, and thank him or her for bringing you the Bible. Then stamp the other children’s hands. Return the happy-face stamp and ink pad to the Learning Lab.

Say: I’m thankful for [name of the child who brought the Bible], and I’m thankful for everyone in our class today. Let’s thank God together for all our friends in this class.

“I’m So Glad We’re Together” Song

Lead children in singing “I’m So Glad We’re Together” to the tune of “Give Me Oil in My Lamp.

Sing:

I’m so glad we’re together.
Keep us prayin’, prayin’, prayin’.
I’m so glad we’re all here today.
I’m so glad we’re together.
Keep us prayin’, prayin’, prayin’—
Prayin’ for each other every day.

Lead children in folding their hands and bowing their heads as you continue to sing.

Thank you, Lord, for each one.
Keep me thankful, thankful, thankful.
Thank you for everyone who’s here.
Thank you, Lord, for each one.
Keep me thankful, thankful, thankful—
Thankful for our friends both far and near.

4. Hear and Tell the Bible Story

Supplies:

  • none

Open the Bible to John 21:1-13, and show the passage to the children. Say: Our story comes from the book of John in the Bible, God’s special book. Our Learning Mat shows us pictures of our Bible story.

Listen carefully to our story today. Every time you hear the word fish or fishing, pretend to cast out your net. Let’s practice that. Fishing.

The Bible Story

“I’m going fishing,” Peter said as he looked out over the water. “It looks like a good night to go fishing.”

Peter’s friends decided to go with him. So they all got into Peter’s boat and went out to fish on the lake. They rowed the boat out into the water, and then they threw out their nets and waited for the fish to swim right in. They waited, and waited, and waited. But every time Peter and his friends pulled their nets out of the water, they were empty!

Peter and his friends kept fishing all night long, but they didn’t catch a single fish. They were discouraged and very, very tired.

Jesus Arrives

Early in the morning, when the sun was just beginning to peek over the edge of the water, they saw a man standing on the shore.

“Friends, did you catch any fish?” the man called out.

Peter and his friends shook their heads sadly. “No,” they called back.

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some fish,” the man said.

Peter and his friends weren’t sure about that. They hadn’t seen a single fish all night. But they did what the man said. Right away, their net filled with fish. Slippery, flippery, fish. Big fish, little fish, scaly fish, slimy fish. The net was so full of fish that Peter and his friends couldn’t even pull it back into the boat.

One of Peter’s friends looked at the man on the shore again. “It’s Jesus!” he shouted. Jesus can do anything, and he had helped his friends fill their net with fish.

Right away, Peter jumped out of the boat and started swimming back to shore. The rest of his friends stayed in the boat and rowed back to shore, dragging the net full of fish behind them.

When they got to the shore, Jesus was waiting. He asked them to have breakfast with him. And do you know what they ate for breakfast? Some of the fish they’d caught! They were glad to be with their friend Jesus once more.

“Yes, He Can” Song

Lead the children in singing “Yes, He Can” to the tune of “London Bridge.”

Sing:

Jesus can do anything!
Yes, he can! Clap your hands!
Jesus can do anything!
He is our mighty Savior!

Jesus can do miracles!
Yes, he can! Clap your hands!
Jesus can do miracles!
He is our mighty Savior!

Say:  Jesus can do anything! And because he’s our friend, he’ll help us when we need him, too. Do you remember our Bible verse? In the book of Philippians, it says “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Let’s say our verse together, and when we’re finished, we’ll clap our hands for Jesus again. Ready?

Lead the children in repeating the verse and applauding for Jesus.

5. Fishnet Tangle Puppet Skit

Supplies:

Bring out Whiskers (or another puppet), all tangled up in the net, and go through the following script. When you finish the script, put Whiskers away and out of sight. Keep the paper net on hand to use during the Closing activity.

Fishnet Tangle Skit

Whiskers: Hello, friends! I’m really glad to see you today. Could someone please untangle me?

Teacher: Sure. We’ll help you. (Invite a child to help you untangle Whiskers from the net.) Where did you get this net, Whiskers?

Whiskers: My mom and I got it at a garage sale. The man there said I could go fishing with it. But I’m not sure about that. I’ve been fishing, and this thing sure doesn’t look like a fishing pole to me.

Teacher: It’s not a fishing pole, Whiskers. It’s a fishing net. We just heard a Bible story about some of Jesus’ friends who went fishing with a fishing net. Maybe some of your friends here could show you how Jesus’ friends used their nets for fishing.

Whiskers: Yes! Would you please?

(Invite children to make casting motions, and then take the net from Whiskers and cast it aside, out of children’s reach.)

Whiskers: Wow! That’s neat. What happened when Jesus’ friends went fishing with their net? Did they catch anything? I never seem to catch anything when I go fishing.

(Let children respond. Help them tell Whiskers that at first, the disciples caught nothing. But as soon as Jesus told them where to cast their net, the net filled with fish.)

Teacher: Jesus can do anything. The disciples didn’t catch any fish all night, but when Jesus told them what to do, their net filled up right away!

Whiskers: That’s great. Jesus really can do anything. He helped people who were sick, he fed all those people with fish and bread, and now he filled his friends’ net with fish.

Teacher: Jesus loves us very much, and he can help us, just as he helped the people in our Bible stories.

Whiskers: I love hearing Bible stories. And you know what? I tell Cousin Joey about them, too. Maybe Cousin Joey and I can use my net to go fishing in his bathtub. Then I can tell him about Jesus’ friends and the net full of fish. Goodbye! See you next week.

6. Net Full of Prayer

Supplies:

  • paper fish cutouts

Gather the children in a circle, and say: We’ve been learning that Jesus can do anything. He made sick people well, fed over 5,000 people, and helped his disciples catch a net full of fish. Isn’t it great that Jesus loves us so much and wants to do all these wonderful things for us? Let’s use our fishnet to say a thank you prayer to Jesus.

Spread out the net on the floor, and hand each child a paper fish. Have children sit around the outside of the net.

Say: We’re going to go around the circle and take turns dropping our fish into the net. As you drop your fish, say one thing you’d like to thank Jesus for. You might choose something from one of our Bible stories. For example, you could say, “Thank you for making sick people strong again” or “Thank you for the net full of fish.” Or you might choose something else you’re thankful for such as your family, your house, or your friends. I’ll go first.

Drop your fish into the net on the floor, and say something you’re thankful for. If some children can’t think of anything, encourage them to place their fish in the net and simply say, “Thank you, Jesus.”


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One thought on “Preschool Sunday School Lesson: A Miraculous Catch of Fish

  1. We have all kinds of videos that would go with this teaching series and they’re all free too. Here’s one on Peter Walks on Water https://vimeo.com/124540890 You can search for more free videos at CrossroadsKidsClub.net

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